Design, construction and distrubuted control of high degree of freedom modular robot
The ability for a robot to navigate different terrains is a big problem in the field of robotics. Designing and constructing a robot that is able to traverse a single type of terrain such as grassy fields, indoors, in the air and even under the water is a widely tackled problem and many different and viable solutions have been discovered and implemented. This issue becomes highly complicated when multiple non-uniform and potentially unstable terrains are to be traversed by a single robot, such as a collapsed building. A potential solution to this problem is presented within this thesis, this being a snake robot. The design, construction and distributed control of a 3D printed snake robot is presented; with the modular design being focused on allowing for the fast and low cost generation and implementation of the robotic snake. This robot has been designed to complete a wide variety of tasks and motions such as serpentine motion, square-wave motion, mamba position as well as incorporating a climbing ability, all in which keep in check with the merits and demerits of the other snake robots. The square wave and climbing motion of the snake robot have been accomplished by utilizing a friction based push-pull method, thoroughly discussed within. In order to achieve smooth serpentine motion, a passive wheel adapter was fitted onto several of the modules to enable a more controlled motion. An approach is also investigated which allows the snake robot to be attached to the end of a serial manipulator robot to increase its prevailing degrees of freedom. The mechanical designing of the robot was achieved using the SolidWorks platform, allowing the prototyping the design to be carried out with 3D printing. The control of the robot is based off Central Pattern Generators (CPG), a form of disturbed control. In accordance with the concept of CPG, an adaptable control architecture was developed so many forms of movement could be integrated into a single design. Robot Operating System (ROS) was used as an underlying architecture for the robot, allowing for the robot to have an adaptable design which could be easily modified according to the required application. A detailed description of the design, construction, control and testing of the snake robot is presented within this thesis.